But while the international copy-cat panic creeps through the front pages, another copy-cat phenomenon meets the eye.
The Berlusconi family newspaper il Giornale embraces the interpretations and the visions of its British ideological twin, the Daily Mail and offers its readers an enlightened and profound explanation of what is going on in the streets of London and the streets of Birmingham.
One leading commentator of the paper writes:
Sbandati e vigliacchi senza passato né futuro In Inghilterra va in scena la guerra della feccia
which sounds something like
Morally-wrecked and cowards without a past or a future
England stages the war of scum
The fact that they have no past and, especially, no future, does not seem to insinuate any doubt in il Giornale (or in the Daily Mail) about the causes.
There does not seem to be much interest in understanding WHY this is happening. The Daily Mail this week alternatively blamed twitter, the liberal intelligentsia, moral decline, phone hacking hysteria. and so on.
The media hum-drum repeatedly let us know that these looters have blackberries and i-phones, that it isn't as if they were starving or something, sure they have no future, but hey one cannot have it all.
Il Giornale's writer (Tony Damascelli) tells us it's really about greed: "they are hungry for luxury and never satisfied". And don't forget, it's obviously about drugs: "this is to make money, to by drugs, to go back to their holes and refuse education, refuse jobs". Slackers and junkies, that's it and of course... they are black!
The writer goes on saying that unfortunately David Cameron is not Margaret Thatcher, that there is "no rigor and no vigor", that the government is fragile, the police is fragile and it's because of the chaos created by the phone hacking scandal (where have I already hear this one?).
So far we have learned that Tony Damascelli is a Daily Mail reader. But it gets better and better. In the following paragraph he assimilates the looters to Adolph Hitler, for no particular reason, but the fact that it is a right wing commentator's habit to nazify the "other" (remember Glenn Beck?).
The article then concludes explaining that there is no class war going on, it's just pointless violence and crime, they are nothing but rats, let's sanitize: "The rats' faces are on the front pages of every newspaper. They can't get away from the island".
Since there is no socio-economic cause but nihilistic greed, there is no need for any socio-economic solution, punishment is all we need. Conservatives and right wingers of the world unite.
But wanting to understand what is going on in the UK does not mean endorsing or even justifying crime and violence, it means looking at a picture that is bigger than one's own spectacles and trying to solve a problem that goes beyond the cuts in the UK, goes beyond the contingent financial crisis and is rooted much more deeply into our society.
So far most commentators, in the UK and abroad have failed to see that, the right-wing press blames it on the "scum" of society, the left-wing one on right wing governments. Replace hoodies with immigrants and Cameron with Berlusconi and the recipe works for every national palate.
The looting was, on one level, pure nihilism; on another, it was a crude attempt by rioters to mimic the conspicuous consumption exercised by the affluent and credit-rich. It was an expression of the values of a society in which we have been taught that, in the words of the former Labour minister Alan Milburn, to lead a good life is to "earn and to own". (theNewStatesman 10.08.11)